We wish all of our members of various faiths a peaceful holiday! Please let us know if your faith is celebrating a holiday that isn’t included. We would love to learn more!
List created by Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark
The Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony, in which old fires are extinguished and new fires are lit, and the Hopi Holy Cycle, in which the changing of the seasons and the nature of the Hopi sacred universe are celebrated, begin in January and February, but the dates of observance vary by tribe. It is also the season of K’aliyee, the time of the north wind that blows off glaciers and icecaps that linger from the last ice age.
The Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony, in which old fires are extinguished and new fires are lit, and the Hopi Holy Cycle, in which the changing of the seasons and the nature of the Hopi sacred universe are celebrated, begin in January and February, but the dates of observance vary by tribe. This month is also known as Buxwlaks or the season of blowing needles in aboriginal spirituality, in which the wind knocks loose the foliage of frozen evergreens. It marks the approach of the new year.
Wednesday, January 16
Memorial of Shinran Shonin – Buddhism Anniversary of the death in 1263 C.E. of the founder of the Jōdo Shinshū (True Pure Land) school of Mahāyāna Buddhism in Japan.
Friday, January 18
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins – Christianity
Saturday, January 19
Sultán – Bahá’í The first day of Sultán (Sovereignty), the seventeenth month of the Bahá’í year.
Sunday, January 20
Tu B’Shevat – Judaism A joyous celebration of the coming spring, including the planting of trees and the conservation of fruits native to Israel, as well as special meals where Jews eat the seven fruits of the land (wheat and barley; grapes; figs; pomegranates; olives; and honey). The festival begins at sundown.
World Religion Day – Bahá’í A celebration of the teachings of unity found in all religious traditions. The observance begins at sundown.
Monday, January 21
Martin Luther King, Jr., Day – USA national holiday A day remembering the life and legacy of the American civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Mahāyāna New Year – Buddhism This celebration falls on the first full moon day in January for Buddhists who practice in the Mahāyāna (Great Vehicle) stream. By contrast, in Theravadin countries (Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Laos) the new year is celebrated in April, while Tibetan Buddhists generally celebrate it in March.
Friday, January 25
Memorial of Hōnen Shonin – Buddhism Anniversary of the death in 1212 C.E. of the founder of the Jōdo Shū (Pure Land) school of Mahāyāna Buddhism in Japan.
Wednesday, January 30
Jashne Sadeh – Zoroastrianism A celebration of the discovery of fire by King Hashang of the Peshdadian dynasty; it is a festival in which a large bonfire is built as an act of defiance to drive back the winter.
Thursday, January 31
Birth of Gurū Har Rai – Sikhism A celebration of the birth of the seventh of the Sikh gurūs [1630 – 1661 C.E.], according to the Nanakshahi calendar.
Friday, February 1
World Hijab Day Founded by Nazma Khan, this day aims to promote religious tolerance and understanding by inviting women (non-Hijabi Muslims/non-Muslims) to experience wearing the hijab for a day.
Saturday, February 2
Presentation of Jesus in the Temple – Christianity Commemorates Mary and Joseph’s presentation of the child Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, as required by Mosaic law. In the Eastern churches, this day is known as the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord.
Imbolc [also known as the Feast of Torches or Lughnassad] – Wicca A celebration of beginning growth and the divine generative powers (i.e., the Goddess nurturing her young Son) from which physical and spiritual harvests will come, Imbolc is often an initiatory period.
Sunday, February 3
Four Chaplains Sunday – Interfaith A commemoration of four U.S. Army chaplains—Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, Rev. George L. Fox, Fr. John P. Washington, and Rev. Clark V. Poling—who died while saving soldiers from drowning when their troop transport ship, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, was torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat in 1943. The four chaplains are remembered for their courage and their spirit of interfaith collaboration in service to humanity.
Setsunbun-sai – Shintō A family celebration of the end of winter; beans are thrown into rooms of a house for good luck, with the shout, “Devils out, Fortune in!”
Tuesday, February 5
Chinese / Vietnamese / Korean New Year – Buddhism / Confucianism / Taoism The first day after the new moon is a religious and cultural festival for Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese persons, marking the first day of the year 4717, the Year of the Earth Pig or Boar.
Birthday of Maitreya Bodhisattva – Buddhism [Pure Land schools] Marking the birth of Maitreya, who will come at the end of time to renew the pristine Buddhist teachings.
Thursday, February 7
Mulk – Bahá’í Beginning of the eighteenth month of the Bahá’í year, the name “Mulk” means “dominion.”
Sunday, February 10
Vasanta Panchami – Hinduism A North Indian celebration associated with Saraswati, the goddess of learning, and with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
Thursday, February 14
Valentine’s Day – Western Christianity A celebration of love originally connected to the Roman Christian martyr who died in 269 C.E.
Friday, February 15
Nirvana Day – Buddhism In northern Buddhist traditions, this day marks the anniversary of the historical Buddha’s death in ca. 486 B.C.E. and his subsequent entrance into enlightenment or Nirvana. In southern Buddhist traditions, the Buddha’s death is commemorated during Visakha.
Saturday, February 16
Losar [Tibetan New Year] – Buddhism Celebrating the beginning of the year 2146 in the Tibetan calendar.
Sunday, February 17
Triodion begins – Christianity (Eastern churches) This day marks the beginning of the ten weeks preceding Holy Pascha (Easter). The term Triodion refers to the book containing the liturgies for the worship services during this time period.
Tuesday, February 19
Lantern Festival – Taoism This festival marks the end of the new year’s celebration in China, with the entrance of the first full moon. Children venture out to temples with paper lanterns, solving riddles written on the lanterns.
Monday, February 25
Ayyám-i-Há – Bahá’í [through March 1] Starting at sundown, this festival marks the beginning of the intercalary days for festivities, gift giving, and charitable actions.